The Stony Brook men’s basketball team, making its third national postseason tournament appearance in the last four years, has drawn Massachusetts in the first round of the 2013 Postseason National Invitation Tournament (NIT). The No. 7 seed Seawolves will take on the No. 2 seed Minutemen Wednesday, March 20, in Amherst, Massachusetts, at 7:15 pm, live on ESPN3 and WUSB 90.1 FM.
This is Stony Brook’s third NIT appearance in the last four seasons, having also played in 2010, when the Seawolves hosted Illinois in the first round at Stony Brook Arena, and in 2012, when the Seawolves played at Seton Hall. The Seawolves qualified for the NIT by winning the America East regular season championship. Stony Brook is one of only 11 programs in the country to have won its conference’s regular season championship in three out of the last four seasons. The Seawolves are 28-4 (.875) in America East play over the last two seasons and 49-15 over the last four (.766).
This will be the first-ever meeting between Stony Brook and Massachusetts. The winner of the game will face the winner of No. 3 seed Iowa and No. 6 seed Indiana State in the second round, which will take place either March 22, 23, 24 or 25.
Entering this season, head coach Steve Pikiell was faced with having lost four talented seniors who graduated and went on to sign professional contracts overseas. Despite the loss, the Seawolves have enjoyed their best season in their Division I history, going 24-7 overall and 14-2 in America East, winning the conference by three games. The Seawolves enjoyed much success away from home, leading the nation in true road victories with 12. Stony Brook has won 16 of its last 19 games and sports one of the nation’s best defenses, ranking fifth in the country in field goal percentage defense (37.5 percent) and 12th in scoring defense (56.9 points allowed per game).
Stony Brook is led by America East Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year Tommy Brenton, who will graduate as the program’s all-time leader in rebounds, steals and assists. He is currently fourth in America East history in career rebounds with 1,104 and is just 11 rebounds shy of third place. This season he averages 8.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.7 assists while posting a 2.26 assist/turnover ratio, which is the best in the nation of any player classified as a forward.
Brenton is joined by second-team All-America East selection and America East Rookie of the Year Jameel Warney, who is averaging 12.1 points and 7.3 rebounds while leading America East in field goal percentage at 61.7 percent. Junior guard Dave Coley averages 10.8 points per game and was named third-team All-America East, and junior guard Anthony Jackson averages 10.9 points and has connected on the most three-pointers on the team with 49.
Eighth-year head coach Steve Pikiell has built the Stony Brook program from the ground up, taking over a team that had never finished better than sixth in America East to winning three regular season championships in four seasons. In each of those regular season championship years, Pikiell has been named America East Coach of the Year.